“Sorry we forgot the plate-glass,” says Mac.
“Wudn’t ye like a grrand-piana?” asks O’Flynn.
“What’s the use of goin’ all the way from Nova Scotia to Caribou,” says the Boy to the Schoolmaster-Miner, “if you haven’t learned the way to make a window like the Indians, out of transparent skin?”
Mac assumed an air of elevated contempt.
“I went to mine, not to learn Indian tricks.”
“When the door’s shut it’ll be dark as the inside of a cocoa-nut.”
“You ought to have thought of that before you left the sunny South,” said Potts.
“It’ll be dark all winter, window or no window,” Mac reminded them.
“Never mind,” said the Colonel, “when the candles give out we’ll have the fire-light. Keep all the spruce knots, boys!”
But one of the boys was not pleased. The next day, looking for a monkey-wrench under the tarpaulin, he came across the wooden box a California friend had given him at parting, containing a dozen tall glass jars of preserved fruit. The others had growled at the extra bulk and weight, when the Boy put the box into the boat at St. Michael’s, but they had now begun to look kindly on it and ask when it was to be opened. He had answered firmly:
“Not before Christmas,” modifying this since Nicholas’s visit to “Not before the House-Warming.” But one morning the Boy was found pouring the fruit out of the jars into some empty cans.
“What you up to?”
“Wait an’ see.” He went to O’Flynn, who was dish-washer that week, got him to melt a couple of buckets of snow over the open-air campfire and wash the fruit-jars clean.
“Now, Colonel,” says the Boy, “bring along that buck-saw o’ yours and lend a hand.”
They took off the top log from the south wall of the cabin, measured a two-foot space in the middle, and the Colonel sawed out the superfluous spruce intervening. While he went on doing the same for the other logs on that side, the Boy roughly chiselled a moderately flat sill. Then one after another he set up six of the tall glass jars in a row, and showed how, alternating with the other six bottles turned upside down, the thick belly of one accommodating itself to the thin neck of the other, the twelve made a very decent rectangle of glass. When they had hoisted up, and fixed in place, the logs on each side, and the big fellow that went all across on top; when they had filled the inconsiderable cracks between the bottles with some of the mud-mortar with which the logs were to be chinked, behold a double glass window fit for a king!
The Boy was immensely pleased.
“Oh, that’s an old dodge,” said Mac depreciatingly. “Why, they did that at Caribou!”
“Then, why in—Why didn’t you suggest it?”
“You wait till you know more about this kind o’ life, and you won’t go in for fancy touches.”